Four times over the last three decades voters have offered their support for the right to vote on local taxes and for a two-thirds vote for legislative tax increases. Yet, the politicians have attempted to work their way around that mandate by calling taxes "fees." Fees only require a majority vote in the legislature, or a vote of the governing body at the local government level.

Proposition 26 will reaffirm the voters desires on the tax front.

Initially, with Proposition 13, which set the right to vote on local taxes and the two-thirds legislative vote for taxes in the state constitution, the voters later affirmed their opinion by voting YES on Proposition 62 in 1986 and Proposition 218 in 1996. Both measures were taxpayer protection initiatives in support of the two-thirds legislative vote and local voter approval of taxes. In 2004, the voters turned down Proposition 56, an attempt to lower the two-thirds vote.

Fees have grown to add a $10-billion burden on taxpayers. Fees that are essentially taxes have been placed on all sorts of products including food, drinks, toys, and even marriage licenses.

Proposition 26 will not interfere with legitimate fees such as a fee for a fishing license, or, for that matter, any fee that is paid expressly in exchange for a service.

Nor will Prop 26 allow polluters to avoid their responsibilities, as opponents charge. Regulatory environmental fees that enforce environmental laws, such as hazardous waste fees, oil spill clean-up fees, and fees related to the California Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, are not affected by Prop 26.

Fees are usually levied on business products and services and work their way to the consumer. Struggling businesses don’t need to deal with additional costs of doing business.

Fees can be added to any number of products or services. Many times these fees are for noble sounding purposes. But, if the fees do not directly affect those paying the fees then they are essentially a tax.

The attempt to pass a fee on alcohol in San Francisco recently is a good example. The money was supposed to be used for a program to help inebriated citizens. Yet, the person who buys the expensive bottle of scotch to entertain probably is not in need of this service. A noble end, perhaps, but an illegitimate use of the term "fee."

It’s time to stop politicians from ignoring the express wishes of the voters. If they want to raise revenue then call it a tax and make the argument that it is needed. Proposition 26 will force these "hidden taxes" to comply with the voters wishes.